The trainee with a passion for IT
19.12.2021 – Sonntagszeitung
Valentin Jauch is 20 and in the fourth year of his apprenticeship as an application developer at Ergon Informatik in Zurich. He tells us why he opted for an apprenticeship over the more academic route. What does his job involve? And what sustains his passion for IT every day?
How should we imagine your work?
I'm part of a team that is developing the stock management application for Coop, to ensure that the right products appear on the shelves at the right time. As a trainee I'm mainly involved in minor additions and re-engineering that improve the quality of the software and the range of functions it offers.
Sounds complicated. How would you explain your job in lay terms?
We develop innovative smartphone apps, such as the one for Coop, which improve processes and procedures. I often see people standing in front of supermarket shelves, checking sell-by dates using our app. It's a good feeling to know that I'm contributing to that app, and doing something that helps them.
What do you most enjoy about your job?
Simplifying complex processes and making them user friendly. I particularly enjoy the variety – the way I'm always coming up against interesting new problems, and learning all the time.
Why did you decide on this form of training?
I opted for an apprenticeship over the more academic route because I wanted to start working before I study. That's why I'm doing a vocational baccalaureate at vocational college (BMS). It gives me professional experience but I can still study after my apprenticeship.
"I particularly enjoy the variety – the way I'm always coming up against interesting new problems, and learning all the time."
Where do you get your passion for IT?
I love the huge range of areas and work. It never gets boring. These days, IT is a constant companion both at work and at home, so I can see all the benefits, and what potential it has for the future. I've been fascinated by software since primary school, when I read a book about it and began to code in my spare time. I had a lot of fun with it. I discovered how multifaceted IT can be, and realised even then that it would be an interesting way to make a living.
Do you remember the first thing you programmed?
Yes – it was a virus! The program was a simple script that would open calculator windows infinitely until the computer crashed. But don't worry. I don't do things like that any longer (he laughs).
Ergon has just been recognised once again as Switzerland's best employer. Why do you like working there?
I like the atmosphere between us. It's informal, straightforward, and yet professional. You're not just sitting there counting the hours. We're all motivated to find the best solution we can to any given challenge. I also have a great relationship with my trainer. We're on a level, and I can always say what I'm thinking or what I want to do. It feels good to be able to put my own ideas into practice.
Can you give an example of something you're particularly proud of?
The internal AGM app was really cool. It's a voting app for annual general meetings that we trainees developed between ourselves. Unfortunately, the pandemic means that it has not been used yet, but we're hoping to live-test it soon.
An apprenticeship at Ergon is the best because ...
... trainees are valued. They're genuinely interested in the training. You're not just cheap labour (he grins). And also because IT is fun.
Why choose an apprenticeship at Ergon?
Ergon is currently training 12 application developers, one platform developer and one commercial employee. Two application developers will finish their training next summer, and five new developers and one commercial employee will start their apprenticeships with us.
Ergon offers these vocational qualifications
- Information Technologist, Federal Diploma of Vocational Education and Training (Informatiker:in EFZ) – application development
- Information Technologist, Federal Diploma of Vocational Education and Training (Informatiker:in EFZ) – platform development
- Commercial Employee, Federal Diploma of Vocational Education and Training (Kauffrau:mann EFZ) – services and administration
What sets our training apart?
- Ergon believes in personal coaching and support. Each trainee has their own trainer.
- This 1:1 relationship fully integrates trainees into their trainer's team, where they work alongside everyone else.
- Training is tailored to fit the trainee's needs. They actively help to structure their own training, and objectives are set jointly.
- Even during training, Ergon supports further training courses, language-learning abroad and attendance at vocational college (BMS). All of these open doors long after our trainees' time at Ergon.
- Ergon trainees are often marked among the best in Canton Zurich in their final exams. Our application developers were silver medallists in 2021.
- Switzerland's best-loved employer: 2021 was the third year that Ergon beat the competition to win the Swiss Employer Award.